Quick & Easy Salmon Zoodle Bowls

I’ve been on a health kick recently, but with all my recent travels and the start of wedding season, it’s been tough to stick to a steady routine and diet. So many decadent distractions everywhere! That’s why I love super simple recipes that are easy to whip up in the kitchen, but still good for you. Salmon is my go-to protein for weeknight dinners, and I’ve recently been pairing it with a little bit of pesto, garlic, tomatoes and zucchini noodles. So light, refreshing, and packed with a ton of flavor.

Here’s my recipe for Salmon Zoodle Bowls – everything you dreamed of for those busy weeknights. What are some of your tips and tricks for eating healthy with a busy schedule? I’d love to hear from you!

When you’re off your blogging game and Instagram Story is the best picture you have…

Ingredients (serves 2) 

1.5 tbsp olive oil
4 zucchinis – washed, peeled and spiralized into noodles
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cloves of garlic, diced
2 small salmon fillets, cut into three pieces each and marinaded in a little bit of olive oil, s&p and the diced garlic
1/2 a tomato, diced
2-3 tsp of pesto, depending on your taste
Grated parmesan cheese

Recipe

First, prep your zoodles. Lightly fry the spiralized zucchini noodles in 1 tbsp olive oil and garnish with salt & pepper and any other spices to your liking. I usually add some onion powder and parsley flakes, but you can also add red chilli flakes for an added kick. This should only take a few minutes – avoid frying for too long, or the zoodles will become mushy and let out moisture. Keep em’ crispy! Once this is done, arrange the zoodles in a bowl.

Next up, take your salmon pieces (already marinaded in olive oil, s&p and garlic) and lightly pan-fry them for a few minutes on each side in half a tbsp of olive oil. As you’re frying them, drop in the diced tomatoes and add pesto over the salmon pieces. Stir this mixture so that the pesto combines with the tomatoes and coats the salmon. Cover until the salmon pieces are completely cooked (this should taken around 5-10 minutes longer depending how thick the salmon pieces are).

Spoon the salmon, pesto and tomato mixture over your zoodles. Garnish with fresh parmesan cheese, freshly cracked pepper and a little more pesto if you please. Enjoy! Guilt-free and delicious.

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Authentic Thai Green Curry – straight from Chiang Mai!

Even though we’re in the thick of winter here in Chicago, my mind is still in beautiful Thailand. My husband and I recently got back from an incredible adventure to Thailand & Cambodia (blog post coming soon) and my heart still aches for the beautiful people, culture, and FOOD of Southeast Asia. It continues to be my absolute favorite part of the world.

One of our favorite memories of the trip was a half-day cooking class in Chiang Mai through Zabb-E-Lee Cooking School. We had such a great time exploring Thai markets, picking up fresh ingredients (still can’t get over the fragrance of kaffir lime), and then spending a few hours in a gorgeous outdoor, bohemian-style kitchen whipping up over six dishes. Such a delightful experience for a couple who loves to cook together.

I’m excited to share the recipe from our culinary adventures for Zabb-E-Lee’s chicken green curry. It was absolutely delicious and SO easy to make (well, once all the spices were ground up). I made it once at home too with store-bought green curry paste, and it was still pretty damn good. Obviously not as fragrant and fresh as the Chiang Mai version, but still a great recipe to quickly whip up when you’re craving some curry. Got my hubby hooked on Thai food now. Enjoy!

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Starting off the day picking fresh ingredients from the market with our awesome instructor

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Literally the cutest space for our cooking class. So boho chic! 

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So proud of our culinary creations!

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Silky smooth green curry. Nothing like that fresh taste of coconut cream and kaffir lime. 

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My version at home – more veggies, low fat coconut milk, and store bought green curry paste. Sorry for the poor picture quality – alas, not much natural lighting in Chicago right now. Still delicious, and SO easy to make! 

Thai Green Chicken Curry (recipe adapted from Zabb-E-Lee Cooking School)

Ingredients (serves 3-4) 

2 tbsp canola oil
6 chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 can coconut cream (highly recommend the Aroy-D brand)
1.5 tbsp green curry paste* (I used the Thai Kitchen brand, but see below for the recipe to make this from scratch)
1 eggplant, cut into squares
1 zucchini, cut into squares
Handful of green beans (per your liking)
2 tbsp sweet basil
3 leaves kaffir lime leaf, torn in half
1 tbsp pea eggplant (optional – I didn’t use this)
2 red chilis, sliced diagonally
2 tsp palm sugar
2 tbsp fish sauce

Recipe

Let the oil heat on a wok or non-stick pan on medium high. Stir the green curry paste for a few minutes until fragrant and the oil surfaces. Add the chicken thighs and stir until fully cooked. Gradually add the coconut milk and add in the eggplant, zucchini, and green beans. Cover and let simmer. When the veggies are cooked, add palm sugar, fish sauce, sweet basil, kaffir lime, and red chilis. THAT’S IT – you’re done! Enjoy with rice or noodles.

*Green Curry Paste (from Zabb-E-Lee’s cookbook)

Ingredients

10 fresh green chilies, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp galangal finely chopped
1 tbsp lemongrass, finely chopped
5 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 shallots, sliced
1 tsp kaffir lime ride, finely sliced
1 tbsp coriander roots, chopped
1 tsp fresh turmeric or turmeric powder
1 tsp shrimp paste (this is the secret sauce!)
1 tsp black pepper
1 tsp roasted coriander seeds
1/2 tsp roasted cumin
1 tsp ginger

Directions

Combine coriander seeds, cumin, black pepper in a mortar, pound well. Add chilies and salt to the mixture and continue pounding. Add remaining ingredients (except for the shrimp paste) and pound again. After everything is smooth, add the shrimp paste and continue pounding until the mixture is a smooth paste.

Holiday Gift Guide: For Food Lovers

Happy post-Thanksgiving holiday bliss, everyone! Just like most of you reading this post, I spent an embarrassing amount of time this weekend online, scouring websites for the best Black Friday/Cyber Monday fashion/tech/everything deals. While perusing all the amazing sales (sorry, credit card), I came across a ton of super cute gift ideas that would be so perfect for food lovers, cooks, hosts & hostesses, so I decided to put together a little gift guide for my readers. These gifts range from cookbooks to barware to kitchen items and even Indian-themed foodie gifts, so I hope you enjoy! I own about half these items and certainly wouldn’t mind owning the rest…hint hint, nudge nudge 🙂

All product links below

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SHOP: Date Night In Cookbook, Anthropologie || Cast Iron Fondue Set, Crate and Barrel || Sabyasachi Print Round Tray, Pottery Barn || Atlas Marcato Red Pasta Machine, Sur La Table || Flavors of America Salt Collection, Uncommon Goods || Traditional Indian Copper Dinner Set, Amazon || ‘Cravings’ 5-Piece Cheese Board & Utensil Set, Nordstrom || Handwoven Macrame Runner, Anthropologie || Glencairn Whiskey Glasses, Crate and Barrel || On Food and Cooking: The Science and Lore of the Kitchen, Amazon

Moroccan Feast: Slow-Cooked Lamb & Roasted Cauliflower Salad

Chicago’s bout of unseasonably warm fall weather is finally over, which means it’s time for some major winter hibernation in the Gupta household. And with that, comes some delicious, wintery slow-cooking of course. Last Sunday, hubby and I decided to try this Moroccan Lamb recipe from Epicurious and it was absolutely scrumptious. Flavorful, comforting and not as complicated as I would’ve figured–especially if you have a Crockpot on hand. We’ve always been a little hesitant to prepare lamb, but after this, can’t wait to try out some more lamb or goat recipes!

We paired the lamb with some couscous and this Roasted Cauliflower and Arugula Salad with Sumac Dressing from Finecooking.com, which is hands down THE most amazing salad I’ve ever tasted. The combination of roasted cauliflower, spices and feta is absolutely perfect. Definitely going to be a regular in our household.

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The lamb simmering away in a sauce of tomatoes, chickpeas, chicken broth, and dried apricots. Right before we transferred the mixture to a Crockpot for two hours of slow cooking. 

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Roasted cauliflower and arugula salad with sumac dressing from Finecooking.com 

Here’s our version of Epicurious’ Slow-Cooked Lamb recipe – more spice, and we used a Crockpot to get more tender lamb. Enjoy!

Ingredients (serves 6) 

3 tbsp cumin and coriander powder
1 tsp garam masala (optional, but adds more flavor & spice to the original recipe) 
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tsp cayenne pepper or red chili pepper (the original recipe called for 1/2 teaspoon, but it wasn’t nearly enough spice for us so we added more)
2.5 pounds leg of lamb, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
4 tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups chicken broth
1 can of chickpeas, drained
1 cup dried apricots
2 tomatoes, diced
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
2 tsp grated lemon peel
Fresh cilantro and mint leaves for garnishing

Recipe 

Marinate the the lamb in cumin & coriander powder, salt & pepper, fennel seeds, and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper or red chili powder. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil on a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the lamb pieces in batches until they’re browned on all sides. Add more oil as necessary. Transfer the lamb to a new bowl as they’re done browning – each batch should take around 7-10 minutes.

Fry the onions and tomato paste in the skillet until the onions soften. Add the chicken broth, chickpeas, apricots, tomatoes, cinnamon sticks, garam masala, ginger, and lemon pool and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. At this point, you can add in the lamb pieces, bring to a boil, cover and cook for an hour OR you can now turn to a Crockpot.

If you’re using a Crockpot: Transfer the sauce to your slow-cooker and add in the lamb pieces. Cook on high for 2-2.5 hours, until the lamb is tender. At this point, you can add more spices and salt depending on your taste. Once you’re satisfied with the tenderness of the meat, remove your Crockpot from heat (keep warm) and let the sauce thicken. Garnish with cilantro and mint leaves and serve with couscous or rice. Voila – you’re done! Sit back and enjoy.

Looking Back on Summer – Recipes & Reflections

And here I am, six months later. I can’t believe I’ve taken that long of a hiatus from my blog, but I guess that’s what happens when a summer of epic proportions rolls by. I blame a combination of weddings (nine total this year!), a crazy upswing in work travel (I think I clocked in a total of four trips to NYC within the summer), and the most incredible belated two-week honeymoon to Italy & Greece with my husband. This summer was awesome and exhilarating, but I’m looking forward to time sloooowing down a bit with the change of seasons. I still can’t believe we only have a month and a half left in 2016, but I’m determined to slow things down with what we have left. And catch up on my blog, of course. I have a zillion ideas circling in my head for posts–Italy travel guides, ideas for fall/winter dinner parties, slow cooking recipes–so it’s time to hibernate a bit and get writing again. Always fun to get my creative juices flowing after a long break.

I could do a million different blog posts on my summer alone, but I wanted to start off with sharing a few recipes I tried from other bloggers/websites these past few months. If you follow me on Instagram, then you know I love sharing ‘grams of my food with quick descriptions of the recipes. Some of my favorite tries from summer and fall:

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Post Italy, linguine carbonara has become a dangerous staple in our household. We love how easy it is to prepare, and we’re obsessed with the smoky delicious taste of pancetta/guanciale combined with pecorino. There are many different recipes of linguine carbonara out there and we sometimes improvise, but this The New York Times recipe is pretty fool-proof. Perfect for dinner parties with a side of shrimp scampi or Florentine steak. 

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I am obsessed with Indo-Chinese cuisine, an amazing combination of spicy Indian food and classic Chinese dishes. My husband isn’t the biggest fan of Asian food, but likes it when I make it (or so he says…), so I’ve been experimenting more with Asian dishes at home. The chili chicken pictured here is my absolute favorite, and the schezhwan noodles ain’t so bad either. Thanks to Indu Gets Cooking for both these awesome recipes! Her blog is fabulous for Indian/Indo-Chinese recipes. 

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For a brief period this summer, I was obsessed with zucchini noodles for EVERY meal. I should probably get back on that train, instead of the current pasta obsession that I’m on. I absolutely love this Williams Sonoma recipe for Chicken Meatballs with Spicy Tomato Sauce over a bed of zucchini noodles. It’s super healthy, since the meatballs are baked and include spinach leaves, and the spicy sauce gives it the extra kick I always need. Must try this one!

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Chicken thighs, pesto, goat cheese, garlic deliciousness. What’s not to love? Italian food is one of my faves, and so is this Baked Chicken Thighs with Tomatoes, Olives and Goat Cheese recipe from this lovely little blog called Italian Food Forever. It’s ridiculously simple to put together, and perfect with a side of salad or pasta. Really can’t get enough of that goat cheese and pesto combination! 

That’s all I got for today, but I’d love to hear from YOU guys about what recipes you’ve been loving lately. My husband and I have been cooking together more lately, and we’re dying to try more slow cooking recipes for lazy Sundays. xo, GCG.

Creamy No-Cream Cauliflower Soup

I know, I know. I’m completely failing at posting regularly on my blog, but I promise you it’s all for good reason. Life has been a whirlwind lately with tons of travel and a busy work schedule, but I’m looking forward to things slowing down a bit for the summer. We’ve had a taste of some amazing weather here in Chicago, and I’m getting so amped for outdoor music festivals, day drinking, international travel (fingers crossed), barbecues, and experimenting with some lighter summer flavors in the kitchen. It’s gonna be a gooood, good summer. I can just feel it!

This time of year, I always find myself craving more veggies. My husband and I have been trying to incorporate one meatless meal at least once a week, and it actually hasn’t been that difficult to do. Veggie soups are perfect for helping us accomplish this goal – they’re easy to make, quite filling, and last for at least three days. I’m a lazy cook, so this is a big win in my book 🙂 Last week, I made a modified/healthier version of Food Network’s Cauliflower Soup and absolutely loved it. The best part about my recipe is that it was super creamy and sweet, with NO cream at all. Enjoy!

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Ingredients (serves 4) 

1/2 stick butter
1/2 onion, finely diced
1 carrot, finely diced
1 cauliflower head, cored and cut into small florets
2 tbsp fresh parsley
4 cups chicken broth/stock
6 tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
Salt, to taste
Black pepper
Paprika, to taste
1 cup greek yoghurt

Recipe (*modified from the Food Network) 

Melt 1/4 stick of butter in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent, then add the carrots and cook until they begin to brown. Add the cauliflower florets, cover and cook over low heat for 15 minutes. The cauliflower should be very soft at this point. Add the parsley and chicken broth and let simmer for 10 minutes.

In the meantime, make a white sauce in a small saucepan. Melt the remaining 1/4 stick butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour and cook for a couple of minutes. Add the milk and whisk to combine until the flour is no longer lumpy. Pour the white sauce into the pot. Add salt, pepper, and paprika to taste and allow the soup to simmer for another 20 to 30 minutes. When serving, place some greek yogurt at the bottom of the serving bowl, add the soup, and stir slowly. Creamy and delicious, with ZERO cream involved!

*Note that the Food Network recipe suggests that you can use an immersion blender to puree for a smoother, thicker soup. This is a great option, but I sort of liked feeling the cauliflower’s texture. And like I said, I’m a lazy cook, so love the added benefit of only cleaning one pot!

Chicken & Mushrooms in a Light White Wine Sauce

Hi everyone, and Happy St. Patty’s Day! I seriously can’t believe we’re already at March with weather consistently in the mid-50s in Chicago. I mean, doesn’t it feel like Christmas was just yesterday? I’m so sorry with how terrible I’ve been at keeping up with my blog, but my February was a complete blur. My husband was away in DC for a mandatory course, my mom was visiting me (which means I barely cooked all month and was spoiled by her Indian food), work was absolutely crazy, and I spent a whirlwind weekend in NYC for my golden birthday. February just flew by, but I’m feeling good about March. I’m boycotting St. Patty’s Day (no day drinking or green river for me!) and focusing on resetting and getting some much-needed zen back into my life. On the blog front, this means that I’m back with tons of new blog posts and recipe ideas that I can’t wait to share with you!

Today, I’m sharing with you one of my easiest go-to chicken recipes that’s perfect for a weeknight dinner but elegant enough for guests. Feel free to customize the ingredients a bit – want something richer? Go ahead and add more white wine and heavy cream. Want something lighter? Sub the heavy cream with a splash of milk and it’s just as delicious. Enjoy!

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Ingredients (serves 4) 

6 chicken thighs
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 small onion, or 1 shallot, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, diced
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 oz mushrooms, sliced
White wine, to taste
Splash of heavy cream or milk

Recipe

Marinate the chicken thighs in salt and pepper, to taste. Melt the butter on a large saucepan on high heat. Once heated, fry the onions and garlic till the mixture becomes slightly translucent. Add the chicken thighs, fry on each side for a few minutes till they begin to brown. Add the mushrooms and a splash of white wine (I usually add a little less than 1/2 cup) and fry the mixture together. Lower the heat slightly and add heavy cream or milk. Stir the mixture together, add more salt and pepper to taste, cover and let the chicken cook fully. Garnish with thyme leaves and serve with salad or over a bed of pasta. C’est fini!